I can remember in the mid 90s a major campaign by feminists on the issue of domestic violence. The feminists claimed that 1 in 3 women would be victims of domestic violence and that it was just as likely to happen to women in well-off homes.
At the time I found this hard to believe. Growing up in the comfortable south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne I wasn't aware of a single case of wife beating amongst family or friends. In fact, it seemed to be a culturally unacceptable thing.
On Angry Harry's site yesterday I saw a graph which strongly suggests that the feminists of the time were wrong. The graph shows the incidence of domestic violence in Britain in 1995.
Revealingly, among the wealthiest 50% of Britons the risk of domestic assault for women was 3%. The incidence of domestic assault against men among this group was actually higher than against women, being 4.2%
It's only among the poorest quarter of the population that the rate of domestic violence against women rises to 10%, as opposed to 4.4% for men.
Conclusions? Firstly, the feminists were wrong to claim a 33% rate of domestic violence against women. For most women the risk in the 90s was a little over 3%.
Secondly, the feminists were wrong to claim that women in middle class homes were just as susceptible as the poorest of women. Poorer women, on the British figures, faced three times the risk of domestic violence.
Thirdly, the feminists were wrong to see domestic violence as something in which men are always the oppressors and women the victims. For most of the population, the risk of domestic violence was rougly similar for men and women.
The feminist campaign of the 90s did some damage - it contributed to the unnecessarily fractured relations between young men and women. And it was based on hopelessly false and exaggerated claims about violence in relationships.